Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence and offensive language
David Arquette as Dewey Riley
Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Cici Cooper
Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks
Laurie Metcalf as Debbie Salt
Elise Neal as Hallie
Jerry O’Connell as Derek
Timothy Olyphant as Mickey
Jada Pinkett Smith as Maureen Evans
Liev Schreiber as Cotton Weary
Director: Wes Craven
Sidney is in college and once again finds herself the target of a psychotic killer. However, this time, the killer’s murder count is higher and the killings more outrageous.
Scream was such a success back in 1996 that a sequel was quickly greenlit and released a year later. While sequels to popular movies are often considered to be not as good, this is especially the case when it comes to horror sequels. Despite this, Scream 2 is quite good.
Scream 2 takes everything from the original movie and amps it up, including the charm, intensity and meta humour. Although it does tread familiar ground, it’s still solid on the whole. It also feels more confident than the first movie, and I found it more fun to watch. It still balances horror and comedy well and the meta-commentary is back, with some added elements. Naturally a new aspect is sequels, with Randy giving rules about horror sequels, but there’s also commentary on media violence, especially with the events of the first movie being turned into a horror movie called Stab. The commentary really isn’t as effective as in the first movie, but I still liked it enough. Scream 2 does a good job continuing the story of the main characters and develops them more, giving the main 3 or 4 characters stronger character work. That being said, with a few exceptions, most of the new supporting characters weren’t as entertaining or memorable. Some characters like Sidney’s boyfriend particularly don’t have much to them. One welcome change was with the location, moving from Woodsboro to a college campus, and that does help the movie feel somewhat fresh. The plot twists aren’t quite as shocking as in the first movie. As for the reveals at the end, without getting into it too much, only half it really worked for me.
As said previously, the returning cast and characters in Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette fare better here than in the previous movie. Their characters get more screentime, and development, along with being performed well as usual. Cox and Arquette as Gail and Dewey particularly get a lot of attention and focus in this movie and are a highlight, their chemistry is great. There are some newcomers to Scream who are good, including Timothy Olyphant, Liev Schreiber, Sarah Michelle Geller and Jada Pinkett-Smith, with Olyphant being the standout for me.
I think that Wes Craven’s direction is better here than in the first Scream. While it doesn’t have a scene as memorable as the iconic opening scene with Drew Barrymore, there are some great set pieces that stand out over the first movie, whether it be the tense chase scenes, or other suspenseful sequences, with a standout scene involving a car. The violence is also amped up considerably, with more elaborate and creative kills. The music choices and the score from Marco Beltrami are good once again.
Scream 2 was better than expected, especially considering the behind-the-scenes production problems it experienced. It’s not as good as the first movie, with the twists and satire not hitting as hard, but if you liked that first film, the sequel is definitely worth checking out. At the very least, it is probably one of the better horror sequels.